Welcome to another installment of “Food or Comics?” Every week we set certain hypothetical spending limits on ourselves and go through the agony of trying to determine what comes home and what stays on the shelves. So join us as we run down what comics we’d buy if they only had $15 and $30 to spend, as well as what we’d get if we had some “mad money” to splurge with.
Check out Diamond’s full release list for this week if you’d like to play along in our comments section.
If I had $15:
I'd pick up Salimba ($9.99), because it's Paul Chadwick drawing a jungle girl who fights pirates. Then I'd add Chaos War: Alpha Flight #1 ($3.99) to that pile. I'm a huge Alpha Flight fan and can't wait to read about the original team's new adventure, even if they are dead.
If I had $30:
I'd also check out Firebreather, Volume 3 #1 ($3.99). I don't know if this is the best place to jump into Firebreather or not, but we're looking forward to the Cartoon Network movie at our house and this seems like a relatively inexpensive way to learn more about the character's comics shenanigans. Next, I'd pick up Secret Avengers #7 ($3.99) 'cause with Shang Chi, Valkyrie, and Black Widow, this is a team book scientifically designed to appeal directly to me. To round out the pile, I'd get Billy the Kid's Old Timey Oddities: Ghastly Fiend of London #3 ($3.99) and Action Comics #895 ($3.99).
I really want that Shazam maquette ($99.99) inspired by the Return of Black Adam DVD. I don't really need one more thing to dust in my office, but that's a good-looking statue.
If I had $15:
I really enjoyed the first volume of Hubert and Krasocet's Miss Don't Touch Me, a thriller about a shy young woman who infiltrates a brothel to discover who killed her sister, so I'm definitely planning on putting money down for the second volume, out this week, if only to find out where the authors take the main character after the last story's rather decisive conclusion.
If I had $30:
I already own a copy, so I won't be picking it up, but the new volume of Acme Novelty Library is easily the pick of the week and should definitely be snagged if you haven't gotten a copy yet already.
As for me, I might hold off on Miss Don't Touch Me and instead check out Special Exits, a new memoir by former underground cartoonist Joyce Farmer about how she came to take care of her ailing parents in their final years. Yes, there's been quite a lot of those kind of books out lately, but Farmer's an interesting talent (she famously founded Tits n Clits in the 70s as a response to the misogynism of the early undergrounds) and the book has been building a strong, steady buzz. I'm curious.
It's an easy choice for me this week, with the big hardcover release of Simon and Kirby's Boy Commandos ($49.95). An essential pick for Kirby fans and Golden Age era devotees.
It's a weird week for new releases this week, with little really jumping out at me, and things I'd thought were coming out - Hi, King City #12! - apparently not on the Diamond shipping list. But that said, if I had $15, the first thing I'd pick up would be Batwoman #0, if only for the almost impossible to deny beauty of new art from JH Williams III and Amy Reeder. I'll stick with Gotham City for my next pick, Detective Comics #871, the first issue for American Vampire's Scott Snyder and The Losers' Jock - I really liked the previews in last week's DCU books, even if I go back and forth on Jock's linework, as opposed to his lovely covers - and then admit that Marvel has me on the nostalgia vote with Chaos War: Alpha Flight #1 (I loved Alpha Flight, back in the day. Don't judge me. If it helps, Jim McCann's writing, and I've enjoyed his Hawkeye and Mockingbird quite a bit). Last but not least, Stan Lee's The Traveler #1 from BOOM! Studios: I've already read a preview of Mark Waid and Chad Hardin's first issue, and it's a lot of fun. Waid does a good job playing with expectations, and it doesn't have the same "Retro? Not so retro?" awkwardness of Paul Cornell's first Soldier Zero issue.
If I had $30, I'd let myself be swayed by Chris and my Techland colleague and fellow Portlander, Douglas Wolk, both of whom have said good things about Miss Don't Touch Me. I haven't read the first volume, but it's being reissued this week to accompany the release of the second. Of course, if I don't like it, Chris owes me $14.95 of his imaginary money next week.
Splurging this week, I'd be generous and give my splurge to my inner child: Oni Press are doing "board comics" for the surreal and wonderful Yo Gabba Gabba this week - Gabba Ball and Goodnight Gabbaland - and, I admit it: I'd be too tempted that I couldn't help but pick at least one up. It's okay: You can judge me for this one. I won't blame you.
If I had $15…
I would start out with the second volume of Nobuake Tadano's 7 Billion Needles ($10.95). I have only started reading the first volume, but already I am hooked. Although the main character is a schoolgirl, this sci-fi story is truly manga for grown-ups. The story is based on Hal Clement's Needle, and the basic premise (girl is inhabited by a being from outer space) is not entirely original. I like the execution, though, especially Tadano's careful rendering of cluttered interiors—so different from our stereotype of Japanese simplicity.
I'll spend some of what's left on Jughead #204, which features another of his Jughead Jones: Semi-Private Eye stories. That should make a nice palate-cleanser.
If I had $30…
I think I'd scrap Jughead and get my mystery fix with the second volume of Troublemaker. I question Dark Horse's decision to split Janet and Alex Evanovich's mystery novel across two volumes—is there really that much story?—but it's a pleasant read and I'm enjoying Joelle Jones's lively art.
Having cared for both my parents as they grew old, I know that final journey can be sad but also marked with moments of humor, terror, and pathos. It looks like Joyce Farmer gets it, and her family is quirky enough to make for some good reading, so I pick Special Exits as my splurge.
Speaking of my parents, Paolo Coelho's The Alchemist sounds like the sort of fantasy fable my father used to love, especially around the holidays, and I'd like to pick up the graphic novel adaptation that Sea Lion books is putting out.